Everyone seems to have the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, on their bucket list, but they still seem so mysterious. But how can you resist the magical, colorful light show in the sky? Hopefully this list will help answer your questions and get you excited to plan a vacation.
Are the Northern Lights really disappearing? No, they're not disappearing and please don't believe any click-bait articles that say they are. The Northern Lights are based on solar activity and can fluctuate based on the solar cycle. Based on historical fluctuations, many scientists believe that we are entering a period of lower solar activity, but this does NOT mean that you won't be able to see the Northern Lights - it just means that they will be slightly more elusive, and more easily seen from polar regions.
Can you guarantee that I will see the Northern Lights? No, but I sure wish that I could. Actually, I wish I could control the weather in every destination that I send my clients to visit. Unfortunately, the Northern Lights are hard to see, and it will take some work once you get to your destination to see them. With all that said, there are things that we can do to help you have a higher chance of seeing the Northern Lights. I would highly suggest looking at a tour when you get there with a company that knows how to find the Northern Lights. Book the tour at the beginning of your trip - that way if you don't see them on night 1, you still have quite a few chances left to see them. Also, consider where you are staying. Some hotels offer a wake-up call service to alert you to the Northern Lights, which is a great idea - you have to go to bed at some point, but you really don't want the lights to show up as soon as you fall asleep. With a wake-up call, you can go to sleep without worrying that you'll miss the lights. Are they only in one destination? Again, no - but you should pick a destination that you want to see that also happens to have the Northern Lights. If you don't see the lights during your whole trip, you will probably be disappointed, but you still want to make sure that you enjoy the trip otherwise. Also, the best time for hunting Northern Lights is at night, so what are you going to do all day? Plan a vacation with Northern Lights as a bonus - not solely focused on finding the Northern Lights. Some countries you can visit to see the Northern Lights include: Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and even Canada.
What if I don't want to visit any of the typical Northern Lights countries? Well, then don't! One of the things your amazing travel team at Keepsake Travel Designs is really good at is thinking outside the box - if you don't want to go freeze in ice and snow, try a cruise. The Northern Lights don't only show up over land anyway, and over the ocean is a great place to see them because there can be less light pollution, so your chances might be even higher of seeing them during your cruise - plus you have the added luxury and comfort of a cruise. Some of the top cruise lines offer Northern Lights cruises, with the intention of finding the beautiful night sky - meaning that they will go out of their way to head where the lights will be visible. Some of them even offer a lights guarantee because they are so certain that you will see them - if you don't see the Northern Lights on your cruise, you can cruise again the following winter for free.
Can I stay in those igloos that we see online? Sure you can! The one that everyone seems to know so well is in Finland, and you can absolutely stay there, and yes, you can stay in an igloo. There are so many different hotels and resorts that you can stay at the see the Northern Lights, and in quite a few different countries - some of my favorite unique hotel features for Northern Lights are glass roofs, tree houses, entire walls of windows, hot tubs in the snow, and an observatory with high tech equipment to make sure you get a great view of the night sky.
Do I have to go in the winter? The best time to see the Northern Lights is September to March. It doesn't even have to be cold to see the Northern Lights, but it does have to be dark! In the polar regions, it gets dark earlier in the day during these months, making it easier to see the lights. January to March tend to be the most popular months to visit, but September and October are highly recommended if you want to avoid the arctic cold.